Doctor of Philosophy in Economics

The Department of Economics provides a thesis based PhD program with the following areas of research:

  • Econometrics
  • Economic Development
  • Industrial Organization
  • International Economics
  • Labor Economics
  • Monetary Economics
  • Natural Resource Economics
  • Public Finance

A specialization of "Natural Resource and Environmental Economics" is offered jointly by the Departments of Economics, and Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology. While specialization is possible in the listed fields, the Department does not guarantee that each of these fields will be offered in any given year. One field of specialization may be outside of Economics if approved by the Department.

Admission Requirements

Applicants to the doctoral program are required to have the equivalent of a Master of Arts in Economics with a grade point average of at least 3.0 on the University of Alberta 4 point grading scale. Students are also required to have a 3.2 GPA on all Economics courses taken. Students with advanced degrees from universities outside North America are normally required to first complete the MA program and then, given satisfactory performance, are permitted to proceed to the PhD program. International students may refer to the Minimum Academic Requirements by Country to determine eligibility.

English Language Proficiency Requirement

International applicants must provide proof of English language proficiency. Applicants must upload the proficiency test results to their application. The minimum acceptable score on the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) test is 92 on the internet-based test. The minimum overall band score on the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) is a 7.0 with at least 6.5 in each band.

The English language proficiency may be waived if the students country or institution is exempt (please refer to ELP Exemptions) or with a letter from the students institution confirming the language of instruction was English.

GRE Requirement

Applicants whose most recent degree is from an institution outside Canada or the USA are required to complete the verbal, quantitative and analytical sections of the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE). The examinations should be written early enough for scores to be available to be included in the online application before the application deadline. Both scores and percentages must be posted. The Department requires a minimum score of 80% on the quantitative section of the exam to be considered eligible for our programs. No substitutions for the GRE (such as the GMAT) will be accepted. The GRE requirement will not be waived.

Application Deadline

For consideration for September admission, complete applications must be submitted by midnight (MT), January 31. Complete applications include:

  • All transcripts in original language and official English translation
  • All degree certificates in original language and official English translation (this may be waived if the final degree is shown on the transcript)
  • English language test results as applicable
  • GRE for all international applicants attending institutions outside Canada or the USA
  • CV
  • Statement of Purpose or Research Proposal (maximum 2 pages)
  • 3 letters of reference (academic references are preferred)

Course Requirements

Refer to Courses for full course descriptions.

Doctoral students are required to take:

  • Seven required courses (ECON 503, 505, 581, 582, 591, 598 and 599)
  • Five option courses including four (or five) in fields of specialization:
    • 2 graduate economics courses in each of 2 fields are required (Econometrics requires 3 courses)
  • Students who have completed an MA in Economics at the University of Alberta are required to take at least eight courses in addition to those taken in their MA program. These additional courses include:
    • ECON 505, 582, 591
    • At least 2 courses in each of the 2 fields of specialization

Doctoral students will write comprehensive exams in micro and macro economics at the end of their first year.

Ethics and Professional Development

Graduate students are required to complete 8 hours of ethics. The ethics requirement can be fulfilled by:

  • Completing the online Graduate Ethics Training - 5 hours. Students must provide proof of completion to the Department.
  • Attending ethics seminars during Teaching Week and/or Professional Development Week (1.5 hours each)

The Professional Development requirement is effective for students registered in Fall 2016 and beyond. Details will be provided as they become available.

Note for doctoral students, these requirements must be completed by the end of their 3rd year in the program.

Time Limit for Completion

Doctoral students must complete their program within six years from the time they first register as graduate students in the doctoral program. Course work, ethics, professional development (students registered Fall 2016 and beyond only) and candidacy exam must be completed by the end of the third year.

Please direct further inquiries regarding the graduate program in economics at the University of Alberta to